The New Year Linux Resolution: Day 5
The plan: Ring in the new year by switching over to Linux for a week, documenting each day of the transition.
Day 5, A torrid affair with Windows virtualization!
On day four I let Linux think it was in control by cleverly allowing it to verbally abuse and gas pedal me for the entire day, firmly establishing my dominance over the foolish operating system. (“Stupid operating system! You think you’re getting the better of me by stomping on my crotch and calling me deeply hurtful names, but little do you know this is all part of my master plan!… Oh god the pain is unimaginably horrible.”)
Although the tactics I made use of last day led to my resounding and indisputable success, today I’d like to try executing some strategies that result in at least a little bit less excruciating groin-pain (a truly bold move in operating system configuration, I know.) So join me today as I try to sneak around Linux and cheat on it in its very own house, in my torrid affair with Windows virtualization!
Before I begin I must extinguish any doubt in my mind that this is anything but a ridiculously fantastic plan. As such, I must convince myself that emulating a Windows operating system in Linux, when I have a perfectly functional, loving, tender, beautiful, and committed Windows PC literally right next to me, isn’t an inherently ridiculous idea.
To prepare the process of wiping my guilt-ridden mind of these thoughts, in order that I may go through with this dirty, adulterous deed, I begin my Patented Psych-Up Method of Self-Deception(TM), which is a process that involves punching myself in the face repeatedly as hard as I can while sobbing uncontrollably.
And… success! I still can’t shake the feeling that emulating Windows in Linux is kind of like buying an AIBO electronic dog to replace Sparkles, my actual real dog that can already run Winamp just fine. Also, my face kind of hurts. But other than those two problems it seems my patented method has succeeded and my guilty thoughts have been purged from me. I am free to act in as much of an amoral manner as I please!
But pulling this off isn’t going to be easy; it was hard enough hiding my Linuxy indiscretions from my Windows PC, but now I have to hide the virtual affair I’m having with Windows from the very Linux that is hosting virtual Windows, while still hiding real Linux from real Windows. And on top of all that, Derryck got Sheila to make Rolanda break up with Bobby, and now Bobby and Derryck are going to settle it with a drag-race through the old abandoned reservoir! Drama!
So, the first step in my clandestine scheme is to get Wine set up. I chose Wine mainly because its site is more appealing looking than VMware’s, which has all the sleek design features and well-considered organization of an expired domain name, and also because I am an inveterate alcoholic (I don’t have a problem. I jush… I jush like virtualizing! I can schtop when… whenever I wanna… Wheresh the toilet?)
According to the site’s instructions I will have to download Wine, which apparently involves using an application downloader, called Software Sources, that is built in to Linux.
I’m glad Wine has brought my attention to the Software Sources application, because it helps to widen my understanding of how Ubuntu is set up: First there is the Add/Remove Applications program, which is designed to allow you to Add and Remove Applications.
Second, there is the Synaptic Package Manager, which allows you to Manage Packages (in a manner that is uniquely synaptic, apparently) or Applications as some might call them, by allowing you to Add and Remove them.
Finally there is Software Sources, which, if Wine’s installation instructions are any indication, provides Sources of Software, filling a glaring gap in Ubuntu Linux by allowing you to Add and Remove Applications.
With my mind expanded by a better understanding of the inner operations of Linux I continue with my covert operation. I follow the instructions closely, which take an interesting approach to instructional flow by telling me at the very end that I should first use Add/Remove Applications to install Wine before I go about installing Wine. I guess I should have seen that coming?
I now realize that the Wine installation guide has tricked me, and that Software Sources is just for installing the update-frameworks for applications. Too bad, because I like redundancy almost as much as I like redundancy.
Once I finish severely flogging myself with an old shoe and recover from the deep sense of self-loathing and disappointment that overcame me when I made the redundancy joke, I update Wine. It goes smoothly, and I get to loading up my first Windows program.
I decide on using Winamp, which is the only mp3 player that is so very Windows that it has an abridged version of “Windows” in its name. A word of warning to any programs that think that you can compete with Winamp in this regard: If you want to be a Windows program, but do not have “Win” in your name, then you had better stop fronting, sir, because Winamp has the real Windows rep.
I quietly slip an Isaac Hayes CD into the tray, light up some candles, and open up Winamp. To my surprise it loads perfectly, and begins to sing me some smooth R&B classics. I did it! I got away with it and Linux is none the wiser!
Emboldened by my deception of Linux I try to get a bit farther with Windows. It can play music, but can it get graphic? I decide to test my luck and load up Spelunky, my latest video games addiction. I download the program and run the .exe, and it teases me by giving me a glimpse of the intro screen. I feel a rush of adrenaline as I realize I’m getting away with my unethical plan again, but then disaster strikes. The game rats me out, and my whole screen turns black, leaving me unable to alt-tab out. And I didn’t even get a chance to try sticking my gaming controller into the USB slot!
I’ve been caught red-handed! I’m trapped in a black screen with a Windows application in the background wearing nothing but a loading screen, and when Linux finds out its going to kill me! Given my situation I do the only reasonable thing: I panic, run around in circles screaming and sobbing, hit the power button on my computer, then sit in the shower with my clothes on, trying to wash away the stink of my shame. Later, when Linux asks me what happened, I deny everything and cry myself to sleep on the couch.
My moral indiscretions were fun while they lasted, but like so many things they couldn’t last forever. I got away with running some programs behind Linux’s back, but I paid for my inconsiderate actions in so many ways.
Winamp, which I thought was the perfect crime, doesn’t always run perfectly and crashes at times; oh paradise, I thought I had found you! Also, many video-based Windows programs refuse to run as well, presumably because they’ve gotten wind of my reputation as a playboy-heartbreaker extraordinaire. Prudes…
In the end I learned my lesson: it’s everyone’s dream to be with two operating systems at once, but it’s always too good to be true. Eventually one of them will find out about your indiscretions and threaten to cut important parts of you off with a well-timed crash, and then you’ll get a virus from a Windows application and end up with more groin pain than the old battleaxe you’ve been stuck with could ever give you.
In the end I don’t really mind that Windows applications don’t run perfectly with Wine; I’ve never had a problem with using multiple operating systems, since each has its own strengths, so it seems kind of silly to try to make Linux into Windows. The temptation of virtual Windows was strong for a little while, but I’ve still got my dedicated Windows machine waiting for me in my room, willing to run just about any program I want. Plus if I left it, it would get half of my stuff. (Damn you prenuptials!)
And that concludes my fifth day! Stay tuned for my next day, when I test my copy of Linux on another computer! (Because I have Linux on an external harddrive!)